Archive for the ‘lumber’ Category

Right frame of mind

So far I’ve shown you the pens and wine stoppers, all fun lathe items to make.  Now I’m going to take you to the world of flat work… but just for now.

I  first made a picture frame out of necessity.  I was given a water color art piece of a martini, a fantastic drink that keeps getting better with every olive.  It was purchased at one of the local art fairs here in Michigan (Arts and Apples), and given to me as a present (birthday, I think…).  While I probably could have found a store bought frame that would have been the right size, but I thought that this would be a great time to make my own.  So I made one out of curly maple, see the non-professional picture of it…

In the corner is a mahogany spline which reinforces the frame and I love the look of contrasting the woods.  You don’t need a spline on a miter joint, but you do need to reinforce it… a miter joint is not very strong and additional reinforcements are needed.  If you don’t like the look of the contrasting wood, a spline can be made out of the same material as the frame, or an different type of reinforcement can be used.  Nails could be used… but seriously??  I like to try and stay with traditional joinery when possible.

Here are some unique frames that I came up with:

This 5-picture picture frame was one that I thought would be cool to make.  It is created with half lap joints which are nice and strong.  I get a lot of inquiries about this frame, which can be custom made for all kinds of pictures sizes, but this is an expensive frame, prices vary but they are usually north of $150, which include glass and backing.  It is just a labor intensive frame to get all of the joints fitting nicely, but you get what you pay for!  If you are the type of person that needs to have an abstract, unique frame… then look no further.

This next frame came about as a custom order from someone looking for a way to house high school diplomas’, a picture, and the tassel.  It uses a combination of miters joints and half lap joints.  The half lap joints strengthen the frame enough that the miters don’t need to have splines, but they could still be added.  This frame runs around $110, which includes glass, backing, and a custom cut matte to fit the picture size that you might want.  This also allows you to use the frame for a college degree as well.

Walnut Graduation Frame

This final frame was custom made for a 30th “Pearl” anniversary.  I added a channel and inlaid some fresh water pearls and outlined them in some maple, which matched the splines.  The frame itself is made from exotic Jatoba.  The idea for the design was a collaboration between me and the buyer.

If you have something special you would like a custom frame for just let me know and we can try to get you what you are looking for.


Winos only –


2 Jatoba and 1 Oak wine stoppers

Another product that we offer are these hand turned wine stoppers. Like the wood pens, these don’t use a lot of wood (just thicker wood) so it gives you the opportunity to use expensive exotic woods without breaking the bank and they are a great way to cap off your left over wine – functional and stylish!

Some people say that they don’t need a wine stopper because they always finish their bottles of wine…. And to them I say “Show some restraint!” 🙂   No, not really.  But I like red wine and if my wife wants white… and it’s a work night… are we really each going to finish a bottle that night?!   If you answered “yes!” then maybe you need to be a regular visitor to  But for us, not so much, so why not cap it off and save it for the next day?

Jatoba wine stoppers with inset fresh water pearls

There are several different styles of wine stoppers out there ranging from cork, to silicon, to chrome plated, to stainless steel. I have only really dabbled in the chrome plated ones, they are more affordable then the stainless ones and look a lot nicer then the silicon ones. I personally won’t do the cork ones because they can transfer the taste of the wine from one bottle to another – bad news there if you are even a little picky about your wine. You can see them offered on our website here:

Custom personalization available!

I am also working on a special order for a large amount of wine stoppers to be used as wedding favors with a custom wood brand on the top. Of course in cases like these it can make financial sense to personalize them, but if you are getting just 1 or 2 then it would be cost prohibited.

If you are interested in having something like this done for your wedding, or other special event, email me at and we can discuss the details of what you want and volume discounts!

But of course, if your wine comes from a box then you really don’t need one… but thanks for reading along!


Wood Pens… the monster at the beginning

A sampling of some of the various pens that we can make

Hello once again.  We are now officially a few days into the new year and all the Christmas decorations are coming down and we are preparing for 3 months of a bitter cold and snowy Michigan winter with no work free Holidays in sight!

So I thought I would take a minute to showcase the item push me over the edge and down the path that we are on right now.  That is these hand turned wood pens!  I will go into deeper detail on different styles another time, as there are many of them with a wide range in cost.  Pens make great gifts for groomsmen, graduates, doctors, pastors, and anyone else that still uses old fashioned paper to write on.

Cocobolo gold slimline pen with cross clip.

Pen’s peaked my interest because they don’t use a lot of wood so it gives people the chance to use and see woods they otherwise may never know about.  For example, the piece of cocobolo I’m holding in the last post had a retail price of almost $20 on it… and that isn’t a very big piece of wood.  But cocobolo for pens can be very affordable, and beautiful (see picture on the right)!  So because of this I was able to experience dozens of woods from all around the world and put them into the hands of people that had never heard of them.

But being a woodworker at heart and seeing all the natural beauty of exotic woods, I couldn’t just stop at doing pens….

Until next time,